A U.S. Army soldier has been sentenced to 100 years in prison in connection with the brutal rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family.
Sergeant Paul Cortez was sentenced by a military judge Thursday at a military base in Kentucky. But Cortez will be eligible for parole in 10 years under the terms of a plea bargain in which he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the upcoming civilian trial of a former army soldier, Private Steven Green. Private Green has been identified as the ringleader in the March, 2006 rape and murders.
Two other soldiers are also awaiting trial in the case.
Cortez said he and four other soldiers plotted the attack on the family in the southern Iraqi city of Mahmudiyah. The group thought the family would make an easy target because there was only one man in the house.
The soldiers gang-raped Abeer Kassem Hamza al-Janabi, shot her to death and tried to burn her body in an attempt to cover up the crime. They also killed the girl's parents and younger sister.
Cortez is the second soldier to plead guilty to the crime. Specialist James Barker was sentenced to a 90-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in November.